@americanblackfilmfestival on Instagram: Celebrating our narratives, heritage, and achievements isn’t just about recognition—it’s about reaffirming our place in the tapestry of global culture. #ABFFHonors2024 Photo via: @americanblackfilmfestival on Instagram

This June, Miami Beach will once again play host to the 28th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF), a five-day extravaganza celebrating the richness and diversity of Black cinema. From Hollywood screenings to thought-provoking conversations, the festival is a testament to the power of storytelling within the African diaspora.

Since its inception in 1997, the ABFF has been dedicated to empowering Black talent and showcasing film and television content created by and about people of African descent. Founder Jeff Friday envisioned the festival as a catalyst for strengthening the Black entertainment community through resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration, and over the past twenty-seven years, the ABFF has evolved into just that — a cornerstone of diversity that provides a vital platform for emerging and well down Black artists to showcase their talent.

The festival annually draws a live audience of over 5,000 people to Miami Beach for a dynamic lineup of Hollywood premieres, independent films, master classes, panels, talent showcases and networking events, while also reaching more than 35,000 virtual attendees through the ABFF PLAY digital platform.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival prefunctions was the 6th Annual American Black Film Festival Honors held in March, where two exceptional Caribbean women were recognized for their contributions to the industry, among other television and film giants like Saturday Night Live’s first Black cast member, Garrett Morris and multi award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson who is known for her lead roles on Empire and The Color Purple.

Jamaican-American A.V. Rockwell hails from Queens, New York and has made significant strides in the world of filmmaking. From her early days directing high school theater to attending NYU’s graduate film program on a full scholarship, Rockwell has honed her craft with passion and dedication. Her work, including the acclaimed short film “Feathers,” supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, has garnered attention and accolades at prestigious festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival. This year, Rockwell received a nomination for the ABFF Fan Favorite Movie of the Year award for her debut full length feature project, “A Thousand and One Nights,” a poignant exploration of a mother and son navigating change in their city.

Hailing from Los Angeles with Jamaican roots, Mara Brock Akil has made indelible marks in the television industry, with over 400 episodes of television under her belt. Best known for creating the groundbreaking series Girlfriends, Akil has been a driving force in portraying the multi-faceted nature of Black womanhood on screen. In 2019, she was honored with the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award for her extraordinary contributions to television. But her influence extends beyond her work on TV or films, with peers recognizing her leadership, vision and dedication to uplifting others in the industry. She continues to champion diversity and inclusion through initiatives like her non-profit writing residency, the Writers’ Colony aimed at supporting up-and-coming Black screenwriters.

In line with these efforts, Akil was honored with a 2024 ABFF Industry Visionary Award, a prestigious accolade awarded to a trailblazing creator for their exceptional contributions to championing diversity, equity and inclusion in the motion picture and television industry.

These two remarkable women exemplify the spirit of creativity and innovation that defines the American Black Film Festival. As the festival continues to grow and evolve, it remains committed to amplifying diverse voices and celebrating the power of cinema in all its forms. 

The 2024 edition of the American Black Film Festival takes place live in South Beach from June 12-16, followed by the online segment streaming on ABFF PLAY from June 17-24.


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